Kullu (Himachal Pradesh), May 26 : Garlic farmers in Kullu, Himachal Pradesh, are facing tough competition from garlic made in China, which is considered superior to the Indian variety.
Chinese garlic has reportedly snatched a major share of the Indian market, forcing local producers to lower their prices.
The Chinese variety, though priced higher than the local variety, is much sought after because of its quality, grading and packing.
"Our garlic is sold at Rupees 15 to 20 per kilogram according to rates prevalent in the market. We have to spend Rupees 10 to 12 per kilogram. So, the farmers are not getting the rates they should be getting. One of the reasons could be the impact created by garlic coming from China and we are not getting good rates," said Gurmahinder Singh, a farmer.
However, the State's Agriculture Department is aware of the situation and assured the farmers of a quick solution.
"The garlic coming from China is of better quality and has a major market share here. But, the Department and the University are working towards it, so that we can cultivate a better crop than China in the future," said AC Katoch, District Agriculture Officer, Kullu.
The farmers of Himachal Pradesh were earlier used to sending their produce to other states, like Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Tamil Nadu.
It used to fetch them a price of around Rupees 25 to 40 per kilogram. But today, it has slipped to as low as Rupees 10 per kilogram.
Earlier, around 1,500 truckloads of garlic were exported from Himachal Pradesh with each truck carrying about 100 quintals of the commodity. The farmers for sowing the new crop retained around 300 to 400 truckloads of seed.
But with the Chinese garlic having almost ruined the market, the growers now hope that the Government would adopt some strict measures to improve demand for the domestic crop.